Ljubljana – The EU integration of Western Balkan countries is important for the bloc’s strategic position in the world. It is also an opportunity for Slovenian businesses, Foreign Minister Anže Logar said at an event the Institute of Strategic Solutions organised to discuss integration and economic ties with the Western Balkans.
“Until the region is included in the EU, it will be open to various strategic threats stemming from activities that are not aligned with the EU in terms of values and substance, and in geopolitical terms,” Logar said on Wednesday.
The economy is an important segment of integration, and the European Commission has set aside more than EUR 9 billion in investment funds for infrastructure projects in the Western Balkans that Logar said would bring the region closer to the EU in terms of economy and infrastructure.
“At the same time this is an opportunity for the Slovenian economy to take part in the implementation of these projects and draw a portion of the EUR 9 billion.”
The region is important for Slovenia due to the proximity and the good reputation it enjoys there. “Many Western Balkan countries will tell you that products made by Slovenian manufacturers are the most valued in these countries, which is something we can benefit from.”
An excellent opportunity for Slovenia is also the US’s plan to bring some large investors to the Western Balkans to carry out projects that will be a competition to China’s projects, said Logar.
He said that while some of the countries in the region do not have certain sectors developed enough to be able to draw all the funds, this would be possible in partnership with Slovenian companies.
“I strongly believe in the agility of the Slovenian economy to recognise opportunities and join in at the right time, while it is up to diplomacy to try to link up investors and potential contractors.”